Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1273
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1273
30 Apr 2024
 | 30 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Proglacial methane emissions driven by meltwater and groundwater flushing in a high Arctic glacial catchment

Gabrielle Emma Kleber, Leonard Magerl, Alexandra V. Turchyn, Mark Trimmer, Yizhu Zhu, and Andrew Hodson

Abstract. Glacial groundwater releases geologic methane in areas of glacier retreat on Svalbard, representing a large, climate-sensitive source of the greenhouse gas. Methane emissions from glacial melt rivers are known to occur in other regions of the Arctic, but such emissions have not yet been considered on Svalbard. Over two summers, we monitored methane concentrations in the proglacial groundwater springs and river network of a 20 km2 valley glacier in central Svalbard to estimate melt season emissions from a single catchment. We found that methane concentrations in the glacial river reach up to 3170 nM, which is nearly 800-times higher than the atmospheric equilibrial concentration. We estimate a total of 1.0 ton of melt season methane emissions from the catchment, of which nearly two-thirds are being flushed from the glacier bed by the melt river. These findings provide further evidence that terrestrial glacier forefields on Svalbard are hotspots for methane emissions, with a climate feedback loop driven by glacier melt. As the first investigation into methane emissions from glacial melt rivers on Svalbard, our study suggests that summer meltwater flushing of methane from the ~1400 land-terminating glaciers across Svalbard may represent an important seasonal source of emissions. Furthermore, glacial melt rivers may be a growing emission source across other rapidly warming regions of the Arctic.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Gabrielle Emma Kleber, Leonard Magerl, Alexandra V. Turchyn, Mark Trimmer, Yizhu Zhu, and Andrew Hodson

Status: open (until 23 Jun 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
Gabrielle Emma Kleber, Leonard Magerl, Alexandra V. Turchyn, Mark Trimmer, Yizhu Zhu, and Andrew Hodson
Gabrielle Emma Kleber, Leonard Magerl, Alexandra V. Turchyn, Mark Trimmer, Yizhu Zhu, and Andrew Hodson

Viewed

Total article views: 170 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
130 35 5 170 15 3 3
  • HTML: 130
  • PDF: 35
  • XML: 5
  • Total: 170
  • Supplement: 15
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 3
Views and downloads (calculated since 30 Apr 2024)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 30 Apr 2024)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 173 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 173 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 19 May 2024
Download
Short summary
Our research on Svalbard has uncovered that melting glaciers can release large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. By studying a glacier over two summers, we found that its river was highly concentrated in methane. This suggests that as the Arctic warms and glaciers melt, they could be a significant source of methane emissions. This is the first time such emissions have been measured on Svalbard, indicating a wider environmental concern as similar processes may occur across the Arctic.